Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Day in the Slow Life

Slow life. Hmmm. Sometimes it doesn't seem very slow when I'm multitasking trying to get several things done at once. But then I go outside and talk to my two remaining bell peppers.

Me: So do you think you could turn red right about now?
Peppers: Don't rush us. There is still plenty of time. See we have a tiny blush on us. We think it looks pretty that way.
Me: You have been green for months now surely it is time to turn red. (I get a very hungry look in my eye.)
Peppers: (Looking worried.) No its not time yet. We just want to sit here and soak up the sun for a few more months. We like green. Green is good. Please don't eat us.

The reality is that I never considered myself part of the slow movement. I never really consider myself part of any movement. Movements tell you what to do. I'm not very good at listening to what others think I ought to be doing. I'd much rather do what I want to. But the reality is that at times it follows the movement pretty well. At times not.

When The Mom at Heather's Homemaking invited me to participate I told her I thought about playing devil's advocate. I'd give her Saturday with me not feeling up to snuff and eating all the wrong food, watching TV or playing computer games most of the day. But no I would be kind. Instead I picked Monday, one of my favorite days. If you don't like your Mondays, maybe you will like mine instead.

Monday October 18th

Last Monday I had to work the store (an artists' cooperative), but this Monday I was free. It was all mine. I woke up at 6:30 which is fairly typical for me. I never set an alarm clock. I just wake up at this time. Well truth be told, my husband accidentally woke me up at 5:15 or so first when he got up, but I went back to to sleep.

6:45 Bleary eyed I went downstairs and logged onto the computer. You would think from my blog that I would be writing my post right away, but nope. I logged onto Runes of Magic, a computer game. I play with my husband, but we also have characters to play with my son and daughter. When they both have free time on the weekend we play together. But this morning it was just me. I make the money in the game for the rest of the family. The amusing part is that I do it by planting and harvesting. Yes I play a hack and slash fantasy game and yet still I plant. I only had to water the plants then, so I did, and logged off.

7:00 Time to write my Harvest Monday post. I try to get it up by 8am EST everyday so people can start linking. First I get the sheet where I enter all the harvests from the last week. I punch them into Excel. Then update my side bar tally. Then I upload the photos and process them in Lightroom. I have it set so it automatically sizes the for me when I save. It makes it really fast. Then I write the post.


8:00 Time for breakfast. The typical breakfast that I eat everyday is eggs and cereal. Usually my eggs are from the Golden Egg Farm at this time of year - free ranged and good, but I forgot to get them last week when I was stocking up on apples for sauce and meat for the winter. So these are store bought eggs. Which is unusual in the summer and fall, but pretty normal for the winter and spring when we have no farmers market to shop at. The vegetables are from my garden except the onion. I was too lazy to go out and pick one of my bunching onions so store bought it is. The jar is my pickled jalapenos and serranos. I love to spice up the eggs. The cereal is a weird mix of two kinds of flakes. One organic multigrained cereal and one non organic oat flake cereal that makes it taste good. I'm lactose intolerant so I drink soy milk with this. I grew up hating milk anyway. And soy milk I love. I buy Trader Joe's Organic plain soy milk. I really don't comprehend the love of sweetened vanilla flavored soy milk.

As the onions are cooking I clean the kitchen as I do everyday that I cook eggs for breakfast. I can pretty much get it looking nice in the time it takes everything to saute and cook. Though occasionally I have too much to clean and I end up with cold eggs. I'm weird about my dishrags that I clean up with too. I like them small, but I'm too lazy to sew up the edges, so there you have it. Dish rags coming apart at the edges.

Another thing that you don't usually see in kitchens is my plastic jar of egg shells. When I make eggs the shells don't get thrown out. Or even into the compost. They go into their own little container to get dried out in the oven and powdered. It makes wonderful fertilizer for tomatoes. I never plant without it.

8:45 Monday is laundry day. And if you are me or my son as soon as you hear the word "laundry day", you start singing "Laundry day. See you there. Underthings tumbling..." And if you can tell me where that song comes from you are a person after my own heart. Each day of the week has its own chore. Tuesday is the master bath; Wednesday is dusting; Thursday guest bath; Friday sweep and mop if needed. Unlike a lot of people, I don't really mind cleaning the house as long as I don't have to do hours in a day. And breaking it up means that I rarely have to do more than half an hour in a day. You might notice that the kitchen isn't in the list at all. That is because it has to be done just about every day.

I usually have four loads of laundry to do each Monday - darks, lights, towels, sheets. I've made my own laundry detergent but I really don't get the charm of it all and might go back to store bought. I started because no one as selling powdered detergent and I hate the liquid stuff.

9:00 I'm canning applesauce today. The first chore is to clean the stove. It gets hot with lots of pots on high and anything on the stove will burn to it. I'd rather start clean and then clean it up again after. Then I clean the sink with Bon Ami. All the other cleaning was done with a wet dish rag and no cleaner at all, though I do use a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar some days. I have asthma and am not a fan of cleaners with chlorine or ammonia.

After the kitchen is clean, I wash and cut up the apples. I use two pots to boil them down. They could fit into one pot but they are so much easier to stir in two. Plus they cook faster. I don't peel or core the apples. I toss them in quartered.

9:45 The apples are all chopped and bubbling away. I'll let them boil down for about an hour or so. While I'm occasionally stirring I start to think about making soup. I picked some radishes the other day and their tops looked wonderful. So radish top soup is on the menu. I just know you will ask what is in it so here goes:

  • 1/3 Vidalia onion
  • 3T butter ( I never said it was healthy)
  • 3 small yellow onions
  • 4c chicken broth
  • radish tops lots they filled my colander
  • 1/2c cream optional

I debated back and forth with myself about the cream part. I love it with cream, but I didn't have any in the house. So I turned off the stove and got my shoes on. The nice thing about my new neighborhood is that you can walk to things. We have a little Greek corner store about 6 or 7 blocks away. It is a tiny tiny shop but carries a lot of nice vegetables and typical items you would need on short notice. In addition it has half the store devoted to things whose labels I can't read or things like sesame seeds in large plastic bags. It is a fun little store. So I got my cream there and was back in 15 minutes from when I left.

10:00 Switched the laundry, started the dishwasher (how I get my canning jars hot). It was here that life got hard. The radish top soup that I make is blended to make it smooth. It doesn't look like radish leaves. It looks like green liquid. I've made radish top soup often enough before in my old blender. Now I have a new one. I brought it out and put in half the soup which filled it up half way. I turned it on and it pushed the lid off and I had chicken broth all over the counter. Sadly the toaster and the small food processor were nearby so it was all over them. I have a line of bottles, red wine, olive oil, sunflower oil, Pam. It was all over them. It was a greasy disgusting mess. I looked at it and told the blender how bad it was. So I got my big food processor down and put half the soup in that. My food processor doesn't have a very sharp blade any more. Too many eggshells have been crushed in it. But it was enough to get the leaves chopped into bits. Then could pour that into the blender to turn it into a liquid. It was annoying but it worked. Then it was back onto the stove. I looked at the counter and started to clean, giving my blender bad looks the whole time.

11:00 The kitchen is clean again. I put the canner onto the stove filled with water. In addition I put on a small pot for the lids. Then I strain the apples into applesauce. I like using the whole apple because I get the core too. The core has a lot of the pectin so the applesauce is thicker. Once it is strained I put it back on the stove and do a taste test. This batch gets one cup of sugar (for about 15 lbs of apples) and some cinnamon. I stir it all in. As soon as the canner starts to boil I start canning. It took two sessions to finish. My canner takes seven pint jars and I ended up with nine.

I'm not just sitting around while I'm waiting the 15 minutes for the cans to come out. Though I love my dishwasher and filled it up easily enough. I still had a lot of things that needed hand washing. I always hand wash my Victorio strainer. Plus all the bigger pots and bowls I use. It is amazing how many things needed cleaning. It didn't help that both my food processors and my blender were dirty. They could fill up the top of the dishwasher with just them.

12:24 The last of the jars get removed from the water bath. The counters get a last wash down. The only pot not washed is the canning pot. I left the water in it to cool down. With the heat on I figure pouring hot water down the drain is a waste. It can get cool on the counter then I'll toss it. The bits and pieces of the vegetables and fruit were taken out to the compost pile. I wash my hands.

12:30 A long morning, but I'm still not hungry. I'm tired and hot. I need to rest a bit before I'm hungry. First I switch the laundry. Then I sit down and respond to some of my blog comments. A little after one and I'm finally hungry. I heat up the soup (which was put in the fridge). I add some cream and some greek yogurt to it. And sit down and have a nice bowl of soup. Of course one bowl of soup is just not filling enough. I want some bread and cheese. Usually I have bread dough in the fridge and can fry some up in my cast iron fry pan fast enough, but I was out. So I brought out the mixer and got a batch of dough made. Sadly frying up dough that hasn't risen is not quite the same, but I'm calling it flatbread. I covered it in some raspberry jalapeno jelly that I canned last year and then added some nice cheddar cheese.

Actually Tuesday's lunch as I forgot the photo on Monday

I sat down at the TV to eat it all. I usually eat breakfast and lunch at the TV. I like to watch the "news". Which means the Daily Show or the Colbert Report. What can I say? It is much more fun to laugh at the news than to cry.

2:15 Switched the laundry.

That bed won't fill itself

2: 30 Got changed to go outside. I've been working to get my new garden up and running. After the move I just had a little rock wall garden and I wanted a big garden. Bigger than my old one. In fact this one will be over twice as large as my old garden. Next spring I'll be saying to myself, "What in the world was I thinking?" But for now I'm finishing up the last of the beds. I couldn't get wood for the last bed. Home Depot had run out. But I had all eight of the others built and made. I had seven of them mostly filled with the dirt. Some need a bit more, but mostly done. I just needed to finish filling up the eighth bed today. Ok I did a bit more. I filled up some of the other beds a bit more. I leveled off one area at the end that will be an herb/flower garden. I measured out where the last bed will go.

Finished for the day

4: 15 Shower. Then read blogs. I probably switched the laundry again. But who knows when. It isn't on my paper anywhere.

4:45 I start thinking about what we should have for dinner. Chestnut Hill Farms was selling some smoked chicken breasts and I wanted to try them out. If we like them, I can stock up on more before winter hits. So I made chicken, hmm lets call it focaccia even if it isn't, and some salad for dinner. Yes the bread is the same that I had for lunch and will have all this coming week when I want bread. This time I brushed it with olive oil and put on some herbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese then I baked it in the oven. The salad was made with things just from the garden. The dressing was made by my townhouse mate from basil and parsley from the garden. She made it last week and I've been slowly eating it up. I only have one salad left with it.

6:00 Dinner time. I think. Maybe. I quit writing down the times. We often have dinner at 5:30, but I think he was late.

6:30 Exhausted. Tired. My feet hurt (though I'd have to give you Sunday to really show you why). I was just dead tired. I got myself a glass of scotch. Yes, I'm a scotch gal when I'm being bad. I drink wine when I'm being good. But right now I'm being bad. I went into the cabinet where I put the Halloween candy. I took out two little Snickers bars and ate them. Scarf. Mmmm. Yum. Yum. Don't look at me like that. They really hit the spot. Spiked my blood sugar. Raised my insulin levels.... Well at least they were yummy.

I thought about reading blogs. I hadn't read much of the Harvest Monday blog posts yet. I also thought about all the other things I didn't get done today. I hadn't done my Spanish homework. I hadn't made the pickled peppers out of the pepper harvest I just had. Maybe tomorrow I'll have time for it all. So I put my feet up in my reclining chair and turned on the TV. I watched things off tivo for an hour and a half. Until 8pm. Then hubby and I went upstairs to read. Since this is a PG blog, I'll leave it at that. But maybe I wasn't as tired as I thought. Or maybe it was the Snickers bar.


  1. I literally did LOL! You busy girl, you.

  2. What a busy day! I'd be tired after all that, that's for sure....Question..what kind of soup is that?
    Also, the applesause looks fantastic! Yum...

  3. That was hysterical! Thanks for playing along.

  4. Perhaps it was the scotch! ;)

    Fun to read about your day. It's amazing how similar and yet dissimilar all of our daily lives really are.

    Costco still sells powdered laundry detergent (for now). I don't like liquid detergents either.

  5. I am unfamiliar with doing bread in the frying pan. Is there a trick to that? Do you just flatten dough and fry in a little butter or oil? It looks really good! And hearty.

  6. Karen, Always happy to entertain :>

    EG, it is radish top soup. The bright green is the pureed radish tops. It looks dyed but really it is just greens.

    The Mom, it was fun to write. My problem was picking what day to do. Sunday would have been fun too in an entirely different way. You should see the photo of me bringing back a dragonfly sculpture on my bike after going to our town's open studios. But that day wasn't as much about food from the garden and since my blog is about that, I figured Monday would be a better day.

    kitsapFG, I used to get powdered laundry detergent from Costco, but years ago they quit stocking it here. I don't know why. Maybe Bostonians like liquid too much. I haven't looked in over a year though. I just have to remember to check all my local stores when I'm in them.

    maggie, I use a cast iron skillet. I flatten a ball of dough down. Then sometimes I brush it with olive oil and sometimes not. And I just toss it on. Cast iron, if it is well seasoned, won't stick. It is better at not sticking if you heat the pan up first, but I usually don't bother. I'll turn the heat on under it and then do the dough and toss it immediately on. As soon as the bottom starts to brown, turn it over and cook the other side. It makes hot bread in five minutes if you keep dough in your fridge like I do.

  7. LOL! Loved the account of your day Daphne! Thanks for posting the radish top soup recipe!

    It looks yummy!

    I laughed over your snicker's bar!

    Daphne, how much space are you putting between your raised beds? Will there be enough room to get in there to harvest stuff?

    I'm so looking forward to your garden posts next year!!!!

    Question? I sell powdered detergent with no bad gunk in it... it's a green product. And it works great... kids tested... mother approved! Email me at if you'd like a link to it!

    Well, better sign off and head out to get my walk done!

  8. Fantastic! It was a long one, but really productive, it sounds like. My day would be dull, dull, dull, however with reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight aloud three times each day, it does get rather repetative. At least the freshmen gave speeches today....which were scary. Very, very scary

  9. You are much more organized than I would be. I am not going to have a day for anything. I will do what I want as the need presents itself.
    I guess you get a pat on the back but I think you should relax some this coming week, lol.

  10. I've been yelling at my peppers to turn red too. So long, and so annoying. We've been working on raised beds for the last 2 days. So tiring. Yours is coming along great!

  11. Terrific post, Daphne, you gave me a smile last night after a very. long. day.

  12. Toni, My favorite time to eat it is in the spring. When so little is in the garden it becomes a special treat. Usually I don't make it in the fall, but the tops looked so good this time.

    Ribbit, most people would consider my day dull. All morning in the kitchen and the afternoon out shoveling dirt.

    becky, I like days like that when I'm busy. As long as I'm still standing at the end of the day. I do have slower days.

    meemsnyc, Sadly I had to pick them today. We have a frost warning tonight. One that may actually hit. I don't think it will tonight, but Friday night will come closer. I decided I had to prepare and pick everything anyway.

    Ali, I'm glad everyone enjoyed it. I have fun laughing at things in posts, but I have to be in the right mood to do it.

  13. Those eggs look yummy :-)

    Your dish rags made me feel better about my own little sewing lapse. I love Lanz flannel nightgowns (aren’t they legally required if you live in New England?), but the elastic wrists are uncomfortable, so I cut off the elastic bottom of the sleeves. I'm always thinking I'll hem them, but I never do, so I walk around with frayed sleeves.

    I used to use powdered laundry detergent all the time when I lived in California, but when I moved to RI I couldn't find it in the stores anywhere. I really don’t like creating all that plastic waste from the bottles. Your mention has finally motivated me to see if I can find powdered detergent on the web. Or is your recipe for it somewhere?

    Maybe you could ask the farmers' market people about their having a winter farmers' market. A couple of those have started in my area and seem to do well. There are eggs, root crops, some things grown in greenhouses, etc.

  14. If anyone's interested, I sell a powdered laundry detergent that is a totally green, enzyme-based formula.


  15. I enjoyed your conversation with the bell pepper. . lol super like this so much!=0

  16. Karen Anne, I guess New Englanders just don't like powder for some reason, so no one stocks it. Too bad. I'm still going to look around to see what I can find. The recipe I use is a bar of grated soap (I've used both Ivory and Fels Naptha), 1 1/2c washing soda, 1 1/2c borax. In our area there is a winters farmers market. They have one in Nov, Dec, and Jan I think. I've never been to it though. It is off in the Natick area somewhere. But this year a new one is opening up in Somerville hopefully(my general area). No details yet.

  17. Toni, I've got at least a year before I need detergent again. The stuff I make lasts so long.

    Daphne, :>

  18. Interesting post. I know what you mean about not ever thinking about being part of a "movement."

    I like your idea of divvying up the housework over the week. And I was really interested in your grilled bread. Sounds like something we'd love too.